(Prayer is a Persistent, Passionate Effort)
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18 NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
Before anyone can begin a vital prayer life with God, we must first begin a vital relationship with Him in Christ. This relationship is the basis by which prayer is possible. All relationships (as we understand them) involve two-way communication. We communicate with God through the mechanism of prayer, and He communicates with us through His Holy Word…The Bible. It is in our relationship with God that we learn to talk with Him, worship Him, learn from Him, and receive from Him. These are key factors in a fervent prayer life.
It is in our Love for God, that we develop passion to be in His presence. Prayer develops from our desire to be near Him and intimate with Him. There are many ways we can accomplish this through prayer. One is to dwell or meditate on His Word (the Bible). This type of prayer is called meditation. Meditation helps us remember what is important to God, and keeps our prayers focused on His overall mission. Another form of prayer is called contemplation. In this form of prayer, we just simply think about God, and His goodness, mercy, grace, redemption, love…etc. The next form of prayer is called supplication. This is the type of prayer where we focus on the needs of others. We find ourselves interceding for the lost, needy, sick, lonely, and the dying to name a few. Finally, we get around to the type of prayer called petition. These are our own needs, requests, and desires.
None of the forms of prayer mentioned above will be of any use in our lives unless we actually do them. This is where persistence comes in. We must persist in these styles of prayer to receive any benefit from them. To unlock the power provided in these types of prayer we must discipline ourselves to the regular observance of them. It is an important practice to schedule into our day appropriate time in which we can use each form of prayer mentioned. Perhaps meditative prayer with the Bible or The Daily Office over our morning cup of coffee? Maybe contemplative prayer with the Rosary or Prayer Rope at lunch, while we consider God as our source? Many believers focus on supplication throughout the day as we encounter the needs of others. While other Christians present their petitions for their own needs in the evening before bed. However we schedule these forms of prayer, we must persist, for them to become a regular part of our lives. In this way, we can pray at all times while alert and persistent. (Eph. 6:18)
- Does your prayer life adequately reflect your current relationship with Jesus?
- Which of these forms of prayer are new to you?
- How can you incorporate these forms into your current routine?